#HealthBytes: Five foods to help you tackle vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is produced when our body is exposed to the sun, but in today's world, where exposure to the sun is limited, this becomes a tricky exercise. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption in our body and low levels of it can trigger bone abnormalities. Here's a list of foods packed with this "sunshine vitamin" that can help tackle its deficiency.
Pasteurized cow's milk is the first choice when it comes to vitamin D. If you are unable to source fresh cow's milk, cartons that have vitamin D mentioned on the ingredient label are just as good. This is called fortified milk. And, soy milk is the best plant-based substitute for vegans. It also contains generous amounts of vitamin C and iron.
Oily or fatty fishes are a great source of vitamin D. Salmons, sardines, and mackerels are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute toward a healthy heart. If you are not a fan of fresh fish, canned tuna or sardines are inexpensive alternatives. A single teaspoon of cod liver oil every day packs in the day's requirement of vitamins A and D.
Fortified foods are those that naturally don't have a particular nutrient but have it added by the manufacturers. Fortified cereals and oatmeal are readily available in the market. Have it with cow's milk or soy milk for an extra boost. Orange juice fortified with vitamin D is an excellent choice, too, especially to make sure your little ones are getting their required daily dose.
Just like humans, mushrooms can naturally absorb vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Do note, the vitamin D found in the fungus is different from that found in animals. But research shows that it is the same as that derived from vitamin D supplements in the market. The shiitake and maitake varieties are good options when it comes to sourcing vitamin D from mushrooms.
Egg whites are preferred over egg yolks because it has high protein content, but when it comes to vitamin D, the latter is a powerhouse. You can either have boiled eggs or savor vegetable omelets or a healthy scramble. However, always make sure to cook your eggs properly to avoid contracting salmonella. Do not boil it too much though, as it can destroy nutrients.